Civilian Workplace Trends in 2022

Civilian Workplace Trends in 2022

No matter how well established your military career, it always pays to stay ahead of trends in the civilian workplace. Former Royal Engineer Clive Lowe and OA’s Deputy Director of Employment, highlights the macro trends shaping how we will work in the future. 

If you are planning to move from a military to a civilian career, or you’re already part of the civilian workforce and thinking about your next career move, it’s essential to keep up to date with changes in the workplace.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, changing the way we work has become a necessity and comes at a time when we are simultaneously experiencing the effects of Brexit and unabated technological advancements. The Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum (WEA) states that in addition to the current disruption from the pandemic-induced lockdowns, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025. So, what could this mean for you and your future role?  

AI Augmented Workforce 

The World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation will lead to the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025. People already working in many existing jobs will find their roles and the skills they need changing because of the increasing adoption and use of AI technologies. 

It is thought that AI will automate repetitive elements of day-to-day tasks allowing workers to focus on the more human touch aspects of their roles – roles that require creativity, imagination, emotional intelligence and high-level strategy. For example, AI technology could be used by lawyers reviewing case histories for precedents or doctors scanning and analysing records to diagnose illnesses in patients.  In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory planning and logistics and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door. 

Focus On Skills 

Skill gaps remain high as in-demand skills across jobs start to change. The Future of Jobs Report found that the top skills and skill groups that employers see increasing in importance include critical thinking, analysis, problem-solving and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. On average, companies estimate that around 40% of their workforce will require reskilling, and 94% of business leaders said that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job.  

The future of work is already a digital reality for many white-collar workers. Eighty-four per cent of employers are set to rapidly digitalise working processes and expand remote working, potentially moving up to 44% of their workforce to operate remotely.  

With job vacancies in the UK at a record high, research by The Skills Network analysing 1.5 million jobs highlights finance, auditing, agile methodology, KPI’s, business development, warehousing, nursing, mental health and SQL as some of the most in-demand hard skills in the country.  Roles in communications, management, customer service, sales and planning as well as leadership, detail orientation and innovation feature in the top rankings when it comes to soft skills.  

Growth Sectors 

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Information Technology remains one of the leading growth sectors. The pace of technological adoption remains high, even accelerating in some areas, with cloud computing, big data and e-commerce remaining high priorities for business leaders. There is also significant interest in encryption, non-humanoid robotics and artificial intelligence.  An increased focus on remote work and smartphone development has also increased demand for Software and App developers. 

The surge in panic buying resulting from pandemic lockdowns upended the just-in-time delivery methods that many retailers had previously relied on. As a result, supply chain management has become a major focus for companies. Jobs in this field include Purchasing Agents, Logistics Analysts, and Distribution Managers. Industrial engineers are also critical in supply chain management, so if you are skilled in maths, statistics and engineering principles and enjoy making systems work more efficiently, this could be the right field for you. 

Financial Management is expected to grow over the next decade as companies work to maximise profitability. Statistics and Data Science are also high-growth areas, given that evaluating risk in an ever-changing market remains an in-demand skill. Statisticians analyse data and project future sales, profits, and obstacles to growth, and Data Scientists help companies better utilise information. 

It’s clear that many organisations have been re-evaluating the model of centralised working and are adopting new hybrid structures where employees can split their time between the office and remote working.

Clive Lowe, former Royal Engineer and OA's Deputy Director Employment


The Green Revolution 

The urgent need to tackle climate change has become increasingly apparent across the globe. Over the next decade, we expect to see millions of new jobs created globally due to recent climate policies and commitments. All sectors of the UK will go through a transformation on the journey to net zero, with the government setting an ambition for two million green jobs by 2030.  

 Across the UK, there are already over 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains, with a turnover of £42.6 billion in 2019. A report by the Green Jobs Taskforce has prioritised sectors crucial to meeting net zero. These include power, business and industry, homes and buildings, transport, natural resources, enabling decarbonisation and innovation for climate change and climate adaptation. 

The Green Jobs Taskforce identified that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills underpin jobs that are key to progressing the green recovery and delivering net zero.  Still, there are several other areas that are critical to delivering this target. These areas include digital and data skills, project management, education, communication and leadership management. 

Where We Work 

Lockdown meant rapidly adapting to remote working for millions of civilian workers, which undoubtedly presented its challenges. For some, it also offered the opportunity to ditch the commute and strike a better balance between home and working life. 

It’s clear that many organisations have been re-evaluating the model of centralised working and are adopting new hybrid structures where employees can split their time between the office and remote working.  Research by PWC indicates that half of the organisations surveyed intend to reduce their office footprint by more than 30%, and 71% of respondents planned to increase their investment in technology for agile working over the next two years. 

However, whilst there is a widespread shift away from offices and centralised workplaces, there are many jobs such as healthcare, retail, hospitality, teaching and transport where remote working is simply not an option. Yet even these occupations are unlikely to remain untouched by the accelerating trends in technology and automation. 

Planning A New Career for 2022?


1. Consider your transferable skills. 

Review your existing skills and experience and consider how these can be applied in new job roles. You will need to ‘civilianise’ your military skills to potential employers as well as highlight how they fit with the types of roles you are seeking.  

2. Use your connections 

Reach out to people in your extended network who may be able to offer support or advice about the area of work you are looking to move into. Use a social business platform like LinkedIn to develop your online profile to showcase your skills. There are online guides and tutorials available, plus the OA runs training workshops throughout the year. 

3. Refresh your skills 

Research the additional skills or qualifications you may need to transition successfully into your chosen career. Spend time developing existing skills or learning new ones. There are lots of free online courses from both Microsoft and LinkedIn that will help to improve your digital skills. The OA also runs free to attend workshops and webinars. 

4. Book a career consultation 

The OA and the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) offer free career advice. The OA is an independent charity working to help officers find jobs outside the military. Whether you are still serving or in transition, the OA’s experienced consultants offer focused, impartial, and practical advice on all aspects of employment. 

To access the OA’s career expertise, sign-up here. The CTP can be contacted at 

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